A gift for IxisComplicated. Thank you for being there to be my inspiration and fuel my muse. I hope you enjoy this, even if I kind-of-didn't-really do exactly what you wanted!

Kinoc was like a snake; all moving teeth and jaws.

He had sour eyes. Jealous little beads that gleamed in the dark, like cranberries fresh from the bush, and Seymour wanted to crush them between his fingers. Still, it wasn't the thought of sticky red spilt across white that would give him peace. Even if he went on and ripped his eyes clean out, Kinoc would still have fangs.

"Aren't you a little too old for this whole marriage thing, Seymour?"

The room was all greys and whites and blacks, colours to make the spine straighten and the nose to turn up in the air, colours that were muted enough to make Kinoc's orange scream. "I mean, twenty eight? Poor girl. You'll be going lame."

Seymour fumbled with his buttons, feeling perfumed hands slip warm cloth around his neck. Nodding to his assistant, he finally willed his tongue to move. "Would you not consider the setting sun to be the most beautiful?"

"Maybe, but she's never had the chance to rise." Kinoc shrugged. "You know, it's funny, I never expected you to go for one of the innocent types. Is this your way of repenting for your sins?" There was laughter that tumbled out like a wave, and Seymour just closed his eyes and turned his back to split the tide in two. One of his assistants gave a low 'tch', stumbling round him as they went back to adjusting his cravat.

"She will do great things. Is it so wrong that I wish to join her?" Fingers crept over his chest, long nails tugging at his shirt and straightening it. He felt itchy. "I proposed to her as a Maester of Yevon, as a symbol of unity. Whether she is innocent or not holds no bearing." Tilting his head, he blinked once and finally gave in to his assistant who was showing him far too many strained teeth, and went over to the table she had been hovering over to sit himself down. Offering his hand, she scowled and made work on peeling the blue from his nails. "And besides, Kinoc, you really think her… innocent?"

The other male wandered over in front of the table, smirking as he watched his dearest friend enjoy his manicure. "What, you'd call her something else?"

"She has seen just as much death as you or I." He twitched his fingers when they met with warm liquid. "Her entire life has been dedicated to following her father's footsteps. She has known death's true face and never shied away from it, and I believe she will defeat Sin, in the end. Nothing innocent can conquer sorrow." His hands were taken from the water and laid out on the table, the blue finally coming off clean.

"Oh, give it up. You know what I meant." Kinoc walked over, placing a hand on the other's shoulder and leaning forwards. Seymour wrinkled his nose, inhaling imaginary bad breath. "She's frigid; it's not that hard to tell. I don't see you being the gentle type, either."

Raising a scornful brow, Seymour only shook his head. "Must you make theories from your fantasies?" He rolled his shoulders, shuddering a little as his assistant began to file his nails – sharpening them. "I still don't see the relevance in all this."
"You don't want her?" Kinoc was really holding back laughter now, his eyes glistening.

"Don't tell me you've forgotten already? I'm going lame," Seymour drawled.

Lips met teeth, "Then can I have her?"

Silence was his cold response.

"What? You want her to go and die, untouched by love?" Kinoc removed his hand from his shoulder, straightening his back. "That's unfair, and so unlike a kind man like you, Seymour."

"I hear Kelk can't make it, today." Seymour looked towards the man, the slit of a grin only betraying his irritation. "Is that not a pity?"

"Can't imagine Mika will be pleased." Shrugging, Kinoc formed a fat smirk that seemed more like a slice through a piece of meat. "It's because you didn't order any kibble for the refreshments. He's walking out in protest."

"My, first you insult me, my fiancé, and now Kelk?" Glancing down at his nails, he smiled and nodded towards his assistant. Standing, he added, "Your wife would chastise you."

"Hey, she's better at this than me."

"Only when she's speaking about you, I'm sure."

Chuckling, Kinoc let that insult slip by. He was a clever creature, this Seymour. He couldn't say he was exactly upset about him leaving, though. Watching as he was carefully slid into his wedding robes, he changed the subject, "So, are you looking forwards to being Sin?"

"It is a burden that must be bared. I imagine you are more excited to have me out of the way, " he spread his arms out, allowing his assistant room to properly adjust the robe. It was thick as it was heavy, and already his chest felt inflamed. "After all, Kelk is hardly in Mika's favour. I'm certain he will choose you as his successor."

"Tch, you know I'd never want that. You'd be farmore suited to the job."

"You are a paragon of modesty." There was a tug and a sharp pull with the addition of a belt. His assistant sighed something and turned to collect his sash, gently and lovingly flattening it out against his waist before snapping it in place. "Truly."

"Besides, I don't think Mika's ready to die, not yet. He'll want to see how you get on, first." Kinoc's eyes zipped across the room as the Guado woman rushed back and forth with various perfume sprays, choking the room in them. Finally arriving with an incredibly pretentious cape, Kinoc couldn't help but continue his tirade of insults as it was fitted on the groom's shoulders. "Just what did you do to get him to like you so much? Come on, you can tell me, now. Isn't he devastated you're getting married?"

"Please, can you stop? I did not sleep with him, Kinoc, as you so seem to think is the road to power."

"You're the one marrying for it. I'm only finding patterns."

There was a long, hissing silence. Fingers ran across Seymour's hair, tugging it into place and he heard the velvet-whoosh sound of a ribbon. Soon after, those hands returned again, wrapping his hat into place. Kinoc tried to suppress a laugh. Seymour only sighed.

"Get out."

"What?" Kinoc looked like a pig with a knife to his throat. His beady eyes bulged.

"Please, don't pretend to be as deaf as you are dumb. Leave me."

Kinoc just laughed, disbelief choking his features.

But at least he did leave.


She stared up into his eyes. They were a cold blue, like pools of water in a winterwhite oasis, rivulets of veins inking out from them. She always saw his eyes, first. They stung.

But he wasn't looking at her, he was staring, far out into the distance. She traced his eyes, traced the water in them, the dark pupil and the fine lines of deeper blue that mingled with violet. She wanted to say there was some meaning to them, some story or metaphor or pretty picture. But there was nothing to compare them to. They were his eyes, and she had never seen anything like them.

Whatever he had chained to his eyes, she followed – catching sight of a bird in the distance. Red buildings and white silks grew up like teeth all around them, and hard-gum earth was littered with people and processions - and with them wreckage from the afternoon's celebrations. Yet she knew he was watching the bird. He never paid any mind to people, not normally, not ever. Not unless it was her.

"A blackbird." Her words were like dust, rising up into the air and swept out of the window. His eyes moved slowly, catching hers for just a moment, before turning back towards the bird. He nodded, though, and she shifted her weight and bowed her head.

There was a pool of cracks on the marble floor. Paintings conjured by the earth. Lines of blue on white… she may have been staring at his face, but at least those awful eyes didn't burn here, not by her feet.

"Do you plan on sending me?"

Her head snapped back up. A silence jolted through her, till resolve pinned her spine. No lies came tumbling out, even though her lips so wished to weave them. She sought the bird, settling on the red stains of Bevelle instead. "It is… my duty."

It was then he looked straight at her. She tore herself away from the red and found that harsh blue, all winter and stone and chill invading her bones and twisting her lips up into a fearful circle. She breathed once. She breathed twice. His eyes did not move, and the longer she stared, the deeper they seemed to suck her in. Whirlpools. Now, there was a word for them. Whirlpool eyes that ate her alive.

Her eyes shifted quickly to his lips that twitched into a smile. "I love you."
And then there was silence in her bones and fear in her heart and she had rabbit eyes. Yet before a single word could be plucked from her mouth and stone white teeth and red raw tongue he filled her brain with words again. "And I want you."

He didn't even blink.

"I killed you," she spoke like a bird picking words to line its nest.

"And why does that matter?"

"How… can you possibly love your murderer?"

"My father loved me."

"But… you killed him!"

"Just as you did to me. Tell me, Lady Yuna, did you find my murder… just?" His head slid to the side, his eyes growing narrow.

"We… had no choice," her little fingers writhed on her chest.

He smiled at this, and stepped towards her. She suddenly became aware of just how tall he was. Just how much space he filled in her brain. "I, too, have no choice." His lips played with a smirk. "I cannot choose who I love."

Suddenly she felt like that blackbird in the maw of Bevelle, caught in the teeth of white silks and marble floors and red walls and she was being crunched between them. Too bad he'd see her organs on the floor. Too bad he'd inspect her red heart. Too bad he wouldn't see his face, carved there (but maybe, just maybe, he'd see her brain and find himself staining every inch of it.) She couldn't let him see. Her eyes flickered back up to his and she found her hands reaching out to his chest.

They rested there. White on grey.

Slowly, she fanned her hands out. White wings spreading across his chest, two paths that met at his cravat. His neck was warm. His smile was cold. His eyes were colder. Her fingers trembled as she slid them beneath the cloth, and with delicate and unsure hands slowly began to undo that piece of him.

"I'm seventeen," she whispered. His face remained unchanged.
"That's alright." Fingers knotted in her hair, and she cringed as he brushed it so gently and so intimately that she was reminded of Lulu. And suddenly the two thoughts joined and would never separate, and suddenly she felt tainted forever. "That's… alright."
As he sighed, deeply, and moved his head – she pressed her hand into her chest and shook her head 'no'. Confused, he only raised a brow, watching her fingers vanish beneath the fold of his robe. Tracing under it to his belt, she scrabbled awkwardly as she found the way to unwind it, half laughing as she said "The sun's setting." And he glanced away for a moment, half-bored by the splash of red and pink and black that slashed the horizon. "It's… beautiful."

His robe fell open, and she held his belt and sash uselessly in her hands. "It is." And he reached forwards, taking the material from her and then dropping it to the floor. She stared, surprised he could be so uncouth but saw a wildness burning in his eyes and swallowed back words.

"Please, I should close the curtains." Nodding, she stepped forwards, lifting her arms up and sweeping the room into darkness. Gloomy… all save that patch of light before her, pulsing beneath the curtains. It was like a square of blood. She felt fingers on her waist, and she spiralled round before his lips could find her neck -and lifting a hand, she pressed her gloved finger against his lips.

"Not yet." Smiling, she didn't try to explain herself, instead parting his robe further. Sliding herself against him she let her fingers wrap around his back, feeling the heat of his flesh through his shirt. Leaning her head against his chest, she breathed, slowly. Closing her eyes, she rocked, silently. She tried to imagine this was the heat of any other chest, tried to imagine that there was still a heart beating against where her head lay. She could only picture the room, picture the heat, picture the blood-window and the dying sun.

Cracking her eyes open, she felt his fingers coil over hers. Glancing down at his nails, she stiffened as she felt the heat leak through her gloves. He was making circles, massaging her knuckles. "There is no need to rush," he whispered like oil, " Love must be patient. It must be kind."

But he's not patient. He's certainly not kind.

How many people died in the sand for her today? How many would be dug from the earth, mourned in the desert? How many more would go unnamed, unsent, unknown? All because this man wanted to… She could barely swallow the word. Wanted to love her? Was this what he thought love was, she glanced up at him, allowing his smile to warm her lips as she pressed hers against his. Was this what love really was? Was it this simple, chaste pressing of lips, over and over again. Was it his tongue running against her bottom lip, was it her own mouth opening, was it their tongues sliding together, over and under one another?

And she felt him crawl up inside her, slipping beneath her flesh with each movement of his hand on her skin and roll of his tongue in her mouth. She could feel him demanding to be felt. Yet she would not give way.

She would make this act her own.

Parting her lips, she twitched them in the face of his short, shallow breaths. He was hungry, he wanted more. She refused his lips and turned her head, his mouth finding her cheek and letting a frustrated moan rupture.

He went silent when she undid the first button of his shirt. And then the second, the third, the fourth. Pulling his shirt loose from his trousers, she finished off with the fifth and let her fingers trace his stomach. Heat seeped out from her touch. His teeth scrapped against his bottom lip, which he twitched wryly into a half-smug smirk. But watching her, watching the light of the dying day pool across half her face as her eyes devoured his chest, nothing, nothing could be more sacred.

And she worshipped his body, too. Lay blessings on it as her fingers passed up and over his tattoos. She traced the lines of them, horses tamed by her fingertips, his entire body becoming more relaxed and more tense with every single movement. He lifted a hand, faintly drawing it across her face, long nails framing her brilliant green-blue eyes. She glanced towards him, and as he nodded, he drew his fingers beneath her chin, stroking it towards him. And to his delight, she followed – her lips resting against his neck – her soft, fleeting kisses dripping holy fire through his chest.

Her hands continued, drawing up to the top of his robe, sliding it off of his shoulders. He worked it free from his arms, letting it fall to the ground and leaning into her kisses on his bare neck. Something had changed. Ah, her tongue, her delicate, cat-like tongue… his eyes shut over, his lips parted.

He stood like that for what felt like a long time. And with each stroke of her tongue or brush of her soft, beautiful lips he felt himself burning out of this world and to some place that could belong to only them.
Only them.
His eyes opened. "Yuna," he whispered as a hymn. And she looked up, too, her lips wet. The curiosity in her gaze… the tenderness that he saw behind those eyes, those eyes that made him feel the sea – he opened his mouth and let his tongue dart over hers – those widening, eyes that made him feel her resolve – she turned her head up to him and he deepened his kiss – those boiling, brilliant eyes that trusted too much and trusted not enough, that he would one day crush but not yet… not yet.

She pulled on his shirt, as though commanding him. He smirked against her mouth, and parted too quickly for her to react, lifting her in the bridal style she so suited, and against her half-panicked gasps and false laughter he lowered her into the bed – towering over her.

She suddenly felt so small. Her false laughter was gone. Her eyes betrayed fear.

Fingers crawled across her face. She stiffly leaned into his hand, glancing down once and then back up to his face. And then, as though she'd formed a plan, she smiled and asked, "Please, won't you lie by my side?" And stuttering out far too quickly afterwards, "I'd… rather, we be equals. In this."

Laughing, he touched his forehead against hers, feeding off her warmth, and slowly, he rolled over to frame her side. Playing lazily with the stands of her hair, he gazed up at her tiara. "I am but your humble guardian, Yuna. It is you who is the summoner. You are the one who will be remembered."

"I don't need to be remembered," she whispered, softly. "What the temples remember isn't really the… truth, anyway."

Seymour's face light up in delight. She wasn't surprised. "Yes. There isn't a trace of your father's disgraces against Yevon anywhere to be found." He drew in the depths of her eyes. "But how could Yevon mischaracterise your memory, Yuna? You are the perfect mould for a summoner… as gracious and selfless as Lady Yunalesca herself."

She felt his lips pass against her forehead, and she turned up into his skin and inhaled his scent. He smelled of the woods. Of ash and burnt cider and a lushness that he certainly didn't have. She wondered what he smelt on her, if she smelt of the sand of Besaid or the sweating fear of Bevelle or if she was still swathed in the cinder-ashes of Home. Did he smell burning flesh on her? Did it turn him on?

Regardless, trees didn't grow in the desert.

Her lips crushed against his neck.

"And I will be your Lord Zaon, Yuna." He sighed against her writhing kisses, stroking her back. "And together we will free this world."

She didn't say anything, drawing her body up. Staring into his eyes, he may have saw defiance burning in there, but she blinked and averted her gaze. Reaching over, her fingers swept across his wide shoulder blades, drawing down across his biceps and straddling his hip. Parting her lips, her fingers fell across his waist, stopping at the belt buckle. Glancing down towards it, she stared as her fingers fumbled uselessly with it – but when it became unlatched Seymour broke her concentration and cupped her face.

"Stop it."
Everything in her stiffened. "I… I'm sorry," she stumbled, until he felt his smile burn against her cheek and his fingers nestled in her hair again.

"You must enjoy yourself," he purred in her ear. "I am your pillar of strength, Lady Yuna. There is no need for you to give pleasure to me, as you so insist on giving to the people. Let me loveyou. Let me serve you." Pausing, he undid the clips in her hair, wrapping his hands within it. "Relax."

Her shoulders remained raised.

He shadowed her face, pulling and rolling and playing with her hair, dislodging her tiara. Reaching up for it, he passed it into her hands, staring at the detailing. "Those pearls are from Besaid," he mused. "Dug up from the very beach you used to walk."

"Is that so?" She turned it over in her hands.

"Yes, and the silk, too. Don't you feel at home?"

She's never felt further.

His lips brushed against hers. He was slow. He was warm. He was like dried vomit. She dropped the tiara to the floor, and he groaned something restless and pressed his body up against hers. Her hands find his, and she forcefully drew them to the back of her dress. He smirked against her lips, and undid the wings.

Undid everything.

Her dress slackened. His fingers drew up and along it, his nails causing her skin to pinprick and curdle. And then he stopped over her breast. And slid beneath the fabric.

She was warm. So unbelievably warm. He laughed in satisfaction, and she tried to do the same, but it came out all wonky and awkward and horrible. He didn't seem to notice as his palm passed over her nipple, rolling it over and under her, mimicking the action with his tongue on her mouth. She tried to think of anything else, but the pleasure seeped in like fire beneath paper, like blood beneath a bruise, and everything awful swallowed her mind and everything in there was him.

Her dress was by her waist, and she barely noticed the sudden breeze as quickly as it was replaced by the warmth of his hands. And this moment, oh, this moment was holy. It was sacred. It was everything and he cupped and held her breasts in his hands and realizing that his moan came out more guttural, more desperate than he ever meant to reveal. There's red on his face, there's control slipping out of his fingers and against her lovely, perfect skin. And he didn't care.

She could do anything to him. She was stronger than he would ever be. Warmer. Softer. Better.
He looked at her like a cat with cream, and just maybe there were tigers-teeth under his lips. She reached out and touched his face, cupped his chin, felt for him as he felt her buckle beneath his warmth. His nails drew over her nipple. He revelled in the feeling.

His lips followed after. His tongue, slow, flicked over it, and he knew he was tasting everything he'd dreamed about for nights, ached about, in his bed - felt slick and warm beneath his fingertips. His moans came out in bruises, his mouth swallowed her hungrily, his control lost. Bliss poured between all the cracks in his mind, and he saw only the whiteness of her flesh. The flicks of green and blue that he caught when he let his eyes open just a slat, those flicks so perfectly narrowed, those tight lips so wonderfully sculpted into a desperate frown… her hair, sweat lined, out of place and falling over her round cheeks, falling over her button nose. Oh, oh, how he'd wanted…

He stopped sucking, saliva fresh on his bottom lip.

His fingers fell to his trousers. He squirmed out of them – and she sat up suddenly, alarm striking down her back. She barely had time to look at him, look at his length, before he was above her. She'd wanted him to take her as his equal, but she'd lost, she'd let him slip over her and now – she turned her face away, red sprawling over her cheeks.

His fingers crawled over her cheeks. Brushed her hair from her face.

"It only hurts just once," he whispered. "It won't hurt again. I promise."

Her heart crinkled and burst. She kissed his finger tips, and stared him straight in the eyes. Fire burned in there, he caught it. It burned his fingers, and he pulled them away as he stared into those brilliant pools. Every inch of her screamed that she refused to enjoy this. That she would not let him. That this was still her game – but he saw in her only the refuge of resolve, the last of her strength which has escaped the rest of her body. And he loved it.

He kissed her eyelids, and raised her hips. The feathers crinkled. Her dress was going to be ruined. She cared, she cared so much about that – because people had worked on it, people cared about her dress, cared about her, and she… she didn't care about this man, no – this was all for them, all for the-

His finger ran inside of her. She was slick.

His moan made her body shudder.

"You seem… pleased," he smirked. "You're a secretive creature, Lady Yuna. How often you have confused me, your face never… quite what your body betrays." He was running circles over her now, exploring her, understanding her where she could not hide.

"I… never meant to confuse, "she breathed. It was a lie. But just because he could reach inside her, feel warm and arousal and slick wetness on her skin didn't mean he could reach inside her brain and find what lay in there. Even if it sometimes felt like it. Even if his gaze was like being sucked into a whirlpool, even if his gaze felt like a snake coiled around her leg.

He laughed, and withdrew his hand, let his nails drag across his thigh.

His hand slid over his cock, and he positioned himself. Her heart thundered, everything rose and died in her throat, her skin prickled, her body tensed. "I love you, Yuna."

It was sear.

Her back slammed against the bed, her eyes screwed shut. It was sear and burning and felt like lava cracking apart earth. Felt like thunder on a velvet sky. He was Ifrit, he was Ixion, he was paper being ripped In two. This was everything but holy. This was everything holy. She didn't want this. She wanted this. She had to do this. She did this because she asked him to.

He inched in further, and gripped the sheets with such force that she thought he might burst a vein. His face is filled with concentration, with abject hunger and desperation and emotion she's never seen before – but his control was gone and instead heavy pants replace his words. His body trembled. She felt him push in further, thunder and lightning and fire and heat and oh, holy, holy, she wrapped his shoulders with her arms and found his lips ghosting on her cheek.

He thrust.

And this was better than his fingers wet with frustrated cum. This was better than the dreams his mind conjured, better than his mother's love and his father's death. Better than murder and life itself, wrung brilliant by her soft skin, her soft breasts, her soft lips. He could feel her breathing, her tightened, writing breaths and he thrust again, and again. The tension grew tighter, her body was so perfect, so wonderful, this, this… His thoughts broke apart in breathy moans. His hips moved faster, as though he'd forgotten himself, and only when she managed to cry out a little in pain did he slow himself, apologise a thousand times in her ear and worship her in gentle, still thrusts.

And she cursed herself for showing even that bit of weakness. Cursed herself for being thankful for his mercy, cursed herself for each and every smooth thrust that slowly dug out the pain and let pleasure seep in instead.

And his hot voice against her ear, those apologies, those dreams of his that came rolling off his tongue – "All of Bevelle should be watching this. Nothing would please them more, Yuna." And he says her name like fresh grass, that's the only way she can think of it, the slow, arching Yuulike dew dripping down the morning stalks. "Nothing but us in Zanarkand, where Lord Zaon took Yunalesca, where we will go and I will love you in the ruin. Wouldn't that be beautiful? Wouldn't that be… such a wonderful gift?"

And she can only nod against him, barely paying attention to the words and only by how he says them, and she turns her eyes up to his and stares deep down into the blue. It wipes out everything in her mind. His eyes obliterate her.

"Our love will conquer Sin."

He's changed his rhythm, he's forgotten again, he's going faster. She clutched the sheets, found his hand, clutched it. And he tightened and his words turn into breathy nothings and he clutched back against her hand and he was moaning, yewling, broken little noises as absolute pleasure overcame him and he was gone. He was gone and she feelt warmth trickle between her legs and seep onto the sheets.

"I'm sorry," she apologised.

He's not back down, yet. His body was humming, his mind was vanquished white. Spots splattered through his vision, and then he words took shape. He registered. He awoke. And he looked as though for a moment he might burst into tears, and caressed her face. "You've done nothing wrong. I only… hope, I proved myself not to be lame."

He pulled himself out. She felt sticky and wet, but waves rippled out over her, too. There's a faint laughter still left in her, and she gave it over. "What are you talking about?"

He kissed her lips, they felt exhausted. "Never mind."


He was sleeping. His body rose up and down, slowly and gently.
She watched him, cat-eyes gleaming in the dead light.

He didn't have lungs to breathe with. It was an illusion.

She summoned her staff and held it out over her bare breasts.

His soul was ripped right out of the earth, plucked from the trees and thrown as far away as it would go.

She fell to her knees.

And wept.

She didn't understand why.

Suddenly, she realized she heard a noise. It rang high, running through the flesh-window and across her trembling back.

A blackbird was singing.